Brewery Focus: CRATE Brewery
CRATE Brewery is a young London based craft beer brewery that specialises in both casks to keg beers from Pale Ales, IPA’s, Lagers to their simplest of brews – Beer. The brewery vary themselves on the variety they offer to drinkers in their Hackney Wick-based HQ, recently showcasing their new blends small, porter, rye and stout.
The space in Hackney Wick resembles what the brewery is all about with its clean, uncluttered interior and stripped back décor which is something that works really nice with their beer, food and friendly atmosphere and you really get the sense of what Crate wants to bring threw with their beers.
Starting with their Small brew – (3.2% ABV). The brew itself is a cross between their pale, getting the citrusy notes with a sharp but light texture, I was quite surprised with the overall taste and flavour of this as it really resembled what a somewhat pale ale is all about, this is a new direction for Crate, as this is their most recent brew and hopefully we’ll be seeing this coming to your fridge real soon but at the moment it is low cask only.
We then moved to their well-rounded porter – (4.1% ABV). I stated that personally, I’ve never really been a ‘huge’ fan of porters due to the fact I can’t handle the full body of a porter. However, this porter from Crate was something different and I could picture myself enjoying this with friends, with it being a complex brew featuring chocolate or if you’re really tasteful you can possibly notice some dark chocolate notes accompanied with toasted malt flavours. This would be perfect with maybe a dessert such as ice cream or a companion with beef (medium rare please).
Coming through next is Crate’s latest excitement to their collection is their Rye Beer – (5.7% ABV). This is a beer that I was very excited to try after I was browsing through their January itinerary. The beer at first sip was very crisp and rich, you could definitely get the full flavour of rye but nothing which makes you think twice, soon after you are greeted with smooth caramel notes which is unusual but work really pleasantly. Working alongside the smooth caramel you can slowly taste a little bit of spice that balances the rye and caramel and finishes off the beer really well. Although this is an ABV heavy beer, you don’t take this into account when you’re enjoying the craft that has gone into this.
Swiftly after that, I was handed their Stout – (5.7% ABV). Now I’ve heard this is a popular brew from Crate but just like porters, I’ve never been an avid drinker of these sorts of beers. But as always, you have to forget about that and broaden your palate. This was something that really stunned me, particularly because I have tried stouts in the past and they were too heavy (too beery and bold) but upon sampling this I was soon changed in opinion, the stout screams with dark fruity notes which come through slightly after the first taste of coffee which quite amazingly is well balanced alongside the fruits and it’s not overpowering in any form. I would probably pair this beer whilst having a chilled evening but I wouldn’t order this as a casual drink in the bar (or maybe you would) but this is a really nice drink.
Crate’s beer choice is something like a holy grail for new craft beer enthusiasts or if you’re a fan of new beers then Crate is a very good place to get introduced. Not only are they well rounded when it comes to getting creative in their brews but I was also graced with sampling their strong beers from their Golden (3.8% ABV) which is a very bright and zesty golden ale, accompanied with a smooth finish and this is a perfect session ale.
Now, moving into an area that I couldn’t wait to get my taste buds into is their pale ale and Indian Pale Ale. Two of which, I personally consider staples to Crate’s strong arsenal of beers but for me, these two are the ones which made me fall in love with Pale Ale. Their Pale Ale (4.5% ABV) is a very fresh, aromatic ale with tropical fruit top notes and clean on the palate, drinking this you will find it is very light and bold with the tropical fruits but soon it’s cleaned up with a citrusy finish.
Alongside their pale ale, you’ll find the Indian Pale Ale (IPA – 5.8% ABV) which just like the pale ale is a great well-balanced IPA packing loads of Cascade and Chinook hops giving this a juicy bitterness with a wonderful, rich amber colour and follows from the pale ale with a citrusy finish and tropical notes.
I also had the time to have a chat with Crate themselves for a little Q&A about their plans, how they started and get a little insight into the Crate frame of mind, read below.
Alfie – Hello there Crate, could you give us a little background for those people who haven’t heard about you and/or would like to get some extra knowledge about your brewery.
Crate – We started up in 2012, just before the Olympics. We decided to build something quite unique, so scavenged the materials to build our bar from the local area, and built something that could be described as industrial chic. Our approach to our beers was the same as our approach to our bar – we wanted to make something unique but easily accessible.
A – Myself being a lover of the craft beer movement and the number of breweries that are coming through the woodwork, what made you guys decide to birth Crate?
C – CRATE was the brainchild of Neil, Tom, and Jess. Neil had been working on his brewing skills for some time, and Tom and Jess had been running a café for several years. The idea to combine good beer with good food was a no-brainer, and it gave CRATE Brewery a launch pad to showcase it’s beer to the public.
A – Would you say that your choice of venue such as The White Building works hand-in-hand with your brewery aesthetic i.e ties together the Crate experience?
C – The venue definitely contributes to the CRATE experience. The canal-side mooring of boats, the open plan bar, kitchen and seating area – it all adds to what it is to come to CRATE.
A – Anything exciting from you guys coming over the next few months? And what beers can we expect to see be showcased in your bar?
C – We’re working on a few specialist brews that people will be able to come to the bar and try. Also, London Beer Week sees us having several meet the brewer’s events, and we are restarting our revamped brewery tours in the coming months.
Follow the daily and fun things that come up every week and weekend in the Crate Brewery HQ by visiting their Instagram, Twitter and also a website to get the low down. All beers (apart from their experimental sorts) are available via Eebria or you can simply pop down and enjoy a fresh cold one in the true Crate atmosphere.